The son of Hermes and a nymph, Pan was half goat half man who lived in the forests of Arcadia surrounded by satyrs and maenads. He was a fertility god, protecting the fields, woods, shepherds and goatherds. He was believed to make he goats pregnant.
Pan had invented the flute when the nymph Syrinx had turned into reeds in order to escape him. Blowing the reeds he created beautiful music, but in spite of that, he did not manage to make any nymph fall in love of him since he was so ugly. He also loved beautiful shepherds.
Christianity took some of Pan’s attributes when creating the image of the Devil.
The ancient Greeks believed that when their herds suddenly started running or shuddered with fear without any apparent explanation, it was Pan who scared them. For this we have the word panic - sudden and total fear.
When the Persians attacked Athens in 480 BC the messenger Pheidippedes met Pan in Arcadia. Pan asked him why the Athenians did not worship him and said he would gladly help them against their enemy. So, he appeared on the side of the Athenians at the battle of Marathon, and a cult was founded to his honour in a cave on the northern side of the Acropolis.
Art by Majid Ismaeily.